Living Colour – Irving Plaza – Saturday, April 6th
On Saturday, April 6th, Living Colour will take the stage at NYC’s Irving Plaza to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Vivid. To hear this monumental album played live in its entirety is not something that you get to see every day. To purchase tickets to what is sure to be a high-energy, full-on rock assault, click here.
For a band that went through two complete lineup changes in its early stages, what Living Colour founding member and lead guitarist Vernon Reid eventually found in a young Corey Glover on lead vocals, Muzz Skillings on bass and percussion, and Doug Wimbish on drums, was the recipe for what would come to be one of the most influential bands to come out of the 1980′s. With the well-established Reid finding discrimination from the record industry in every corner for trying to get an all-Black rock hybrid band into the mainstream, it wasn’t until working on Mick Jagger’s second solo album Primitive Cool in 1986 and truly impressing the rock icon with a Living Colour show at the legendary NYC venue CBGB’s that the band was able to finally breakthrough.
Vivid, the band’s first full-length album, was eventually released in 1988, and became a huge success. With three singles, “Glamour Boys”, “Open Letter (To a Landlord)”, and the hit “Cult of Personality”, Vivid went on to reach #6 on the Billboard 200, as well as win a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The album also featured guest appearances from Chuck D and Flava Flav of Public Enemy on “Funny Vibe”, and Mick Jagger on harmonica and backing vocals (as well as producing two tracks).
Really, when you look at it, Living Colour was the first band of its kind. A Black band playing rock and metal was virtually unheard of, mainly due to the racial discrimination that was running rampant in the music industry at the time. Living Colour paved the way for multi-ethnic bands like Rage Against Machine, Skunk Ananzie, and The Deftones. More recent developments have seen a host of rock units featuring Black musicians garnering considerable acclaim and audiences locally, nationally and internationally in the world of indie rock: TV On The Radio, Santigold, The Noisettes, Bloc Party, The Black Kids, Janelle Monae, Black JKS, and The Dragons of Zynth.
Over 25 years later, a 7-year breakup in the mid-90′s, getting back together and making two really good albums, including 2009′s social and politically relevant The Chair in the Doorway, and working on their own solo careers intermittently (including Glover joining forces with NOLA-funk powerhouse Galactic), Living Colour is set to take on a new era with their powerful brand of full-on, ass-kicking rock. Their live performance is something of legend since those early days at CBGB’s.
Asked “Why Living Colour, again, and why now?,” Reid replies that he’s never wanted to be in a “repertory band”—one looking to make its last hurrah on the nostalgic laurels afforded from songs recorded two decades earlier. “‘For us the band has always been about possibilities, so the challenge was to dig deep and see what might be there for us to say to this historical moment. The rock genre still holds appeal because songs with lyrics allow you to concoct an emotional capsule that can speak to people for years afterwards.”
Check out the iconic video for “Cult of Personality”: